Keith Richards names “the best rhythm guitar playing” in history

Keith Richards

Being a rhythm guitarist is an art form in and of itself. The world’s aspiring fretboard masters want nothing more than to play a million notes per minute when they take the stage. However, the greatest guitarists of all time typically spend decades honing their sense of rhythm before even considering soloing. Keith Richards had his vocabulary for rhythm guitar. However, he believed that one artist stood out as one of the best in the business.

Richards, on the other hand, has had his fair share of leading roles. Keith Richards was known for laying down some of the most furious lead tones in The Stones’ catalog. It was between Brian Jones and Mick Taylor, including the piercing lead tone on the solo for ‘Sympathy for the Devil’.

Keef’s greatest strength, aside from his lead work, was his ability to conjure up guitar riffs out of thin air. Through the 1960s and into the 1970s, Richards turned in one monster riff after another. It was from the foreboding atmosphere of ‘Gimme Shelter‘ to the horn line that gave birth to hard rock on ‘Satisfaction‘. They both were in standard tuning and with his traditional five-string open tuning.

Coming from a rhythmic background, Richards preferred to lock in with Charlie Watts rather than grandstand. He may have studied under guitarists such as Chuck Berry. But Richards believed that the right way to strum a guitar could give any decent band a sense of momentum. It would constantly push the group forward at every turn.

The Everly Brothers introduced a melodic twist to rock and roll before Berry began taking it in a heavier direction. Phil and Don Everly were known for anchoring all of their songs with their signature acoustic rhythm guitars. They give a subtle push to songs like ‘Bye Bye Love‘ and ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream‘ while singing their twin harmony lines over country-tinged rock songs.

Richards always inclined to steer the guitar in a slightly more sinister direction. However, he admired what the Everlys were capable of. Richards was stunned when he heard The Everlys perform live for the first time while on his first American tour with The Stones. In his book Life, Richards recalled that the band’s guitar chemistry was unrivaled. He said, “The best rhythm guitar playing I ever heard was from Don Everly.” Nobody thinks about it, but their rhythm guitar playing is flawless. The setup of the voice is perfect. They were always polite but distant.”

Richards would draw inspiration for his classics from blues troubadours such as Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. But he would also learn a thing or two from the Everly Brothers. On a few of The Stones’ country-rock songs, such as ‘Wild Horses,’ it’s easy to hear Richards playing in the Everlys mold. It’s only occasionally pushing the acoustic guitar to fit the lyrics. The Rolling Stones may have had a habit of adding their signature darkness to everything, but Everly’s influence proved that there was some light shining beneath the surface.

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